Acai Berries Improves Heart Health, Research Suggests

Friday, October 7th, 2016 | 745 Views

Adding acai berries to your smoothie may improve vascular function and heart health, according to researchers at the University of Reading (UK).

A 1.4 percent improvement in flow-mediated dilatiation (FMD), a measure of vascular health, was observed when an acai-based smoothie was consumed together with a high-fat breakfast. An improvement of even one percent in FMD is reportedly able to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by 13 percent.

With the appearance of a purple grape and taste of a tropical berry, acai pulp has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties due to a high level of anthocyanins. This includes cell signalling, enzyme activity, receptor sensitivity, gene regulation, and reduction in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Twenty-three healthy men aged between 30 and 65 were recruited to participate in the study. The men were randomly chosen to consume a high fat breakfast with smoothies made with or without acai. Consumption of the acai smoothie containing 694 mg of phenolics resulted in a 1.4 percent increase in FMD two hours later. This was compared with a 0.4 percent increase following consumption of the placebo smoothie.

FMD improvements following acai consumption were 0.8 percent compared with 0.3 percent in the control group six hours after consumption.

“The findings of this double-blind, randomised crossover study are therefore timely and important and suggest that consumption of acai as part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle may improve cardiovascular health, which strongly supports arguments for the health benefits of acai consumption,” the researchers concluded.